[-empyre-] FWD: From Artist-in-residence Janice Perry

Simon Biggs s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
Thu Oct 14 18:51:09 EST 2010

"Here in the UK" applies to England and Wales, where they have indeed
withdrawn the funding. It is in black and white in the still hot of the
press Browne Report.

Sorry if this is a bore to read (you can choose not to), but to clarify...

We now know, after months of leaks, that the UK HE teaching budget will be
cut by 80%. The cut is not across all subjects. STEM (science, technology,
engineering and medicine) will continue to be supported by state funds,
although at 50% of what they use to be. All other subjects will lose 100% of
their funding.

Currently, in England and Wales, students pay a bit over £3,000 a year for a
state determined fee towards their education, re-payable to the state once
they have a job at 1.5% interest. In the future this fee will be set by
institutions, with no upper limit. The expectation is that the average fee
will be around £7,000 per year. In subjects that have no state funding this
is likely to be £10,000 a year, if the university in question wishes to run
its courses without loss. The state will also no longer guarantee
institutions, as it has in the past, allowing them to fold or be taken over,
including (a novelty for the UK) by private companies. Students will be
expected to pay their fees back at the prevailing inter-governmental loan
rate (currently 2.2%) with inflation added. What has been on average a
£25,000 debt at 1.5% will now be £60,000 plus inflation at an open ended
interest rate. All this will be implemented in time for the 2012 academic

What this means is that English and Welsh HE has been converted to an open
market where institutions compete for students and students pick and choose
the courses that they can afford. It is the wholesale privatisation of HE
and the conversion of one of the largest components of the UK's public

On top of this, the UK government will be presenting its spending review
next week. The expectation is that HE research funding is going to be cut by
a minimum of 25%. How those cuts fall is difficult to divine. The government
has limited powers when it comes to determining research and funding
priorities. These are set by the sector. But the government will set the
framework. It will be a lot smaller.

In Scotland all this makes life complicated. Scottish students pay no fees
and HE is funded by the State. However, Scotland does not raise its own
taxes, which are set and levied by the UK government. Therefore, if the tax
base shifts, due to changes down south, then the resources available to the
Scottish government shifts too. The changes to HE in England and Wales will
be reflected in Scotland, with funding falling here by similar amounts but
with Scottish universities currently unable to levy fees from students to
make up the difference. As such, the UK government is forcing the Scots,
where all the main parties are hostile to fees, to implement fees. A bitter
political pill and one the UK government has carefully crafted.

The UK government tells us all this cutting is required to pay off the huge
debt we acquired bailing out our banks. There is a huge debt but it is
roughly equal to the value of the shares the State now holds in the banks it
bailed out. The government could, if it chose, cover a large proportion of
the debt by selling those shares, thus avoiding the cuts in public spending.
Of course they know this, which reveals what is really going on - that these
cuts are not driven by a desire to reduce debt and protect future
generations but are ideologically driven policy designed to shrink the state
and the public sector. HE is a nice target for the anti-intellectual
neo-liberals who control the Conservative led government in London. They
just scored a direct hit.



Simon Biggs
s.biggs at eca.ac.uk  simon at littlepig.org.uk
Skype: simonbiggsuk

Research Professor  edinburgh college of art
Creative Interdisciplinary Research in CoLlaborative Environments
Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice
Centre for Film, Performance and Media Arts

> From: MISCHA TWITCHIN <mischa.twitchin at btinternet.com>
> Reply-To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2010 00:17:29 +0100 (BST)
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] FWD: From Artist-in-residence Janice Perry
> Dear colleagues - just wanted to break my silence to say thank you for the
> various threads i have been following. I am participating in the Making Sense
> colloquium next week and, indeed, find the discussions challenging for my
> thinking towards it. With the beginning of the academic term I am finding it
> difficult, however, to make time to reply properly to the debates. Also, here
> in 
> the UK we are currently facing the possibility of the withdrawal of government
> funding for arts and humanities subjects in universities - potentially to be
> paid for in the future by a "market" in student fees (in effect, a further
> step 
> towards the privatisation of universities here). More Dickens' "worst of
> times" 
> than best - a "winter of despair". In this context it seems rather
> solipsistic, 
> but i had wanted to reply to Janice's notice of her "Being Derrida" piece -
> simply to offer a link to a short film i made also mining the "Derrida" film,
> called "Deconstruction: The Famous Yogurt Scene" (it is probably rather too
> "wordy", but it has moments of
> humour!): http://shunt.co.uk/mischa_twitchin/yoghurt.html
> Apologies for not contributing more thoughtfully at this time. With all best
> wishes, Mischa
> (http://shunt.co.uk/mischa_twitchin/index.html)
> ________________________________
> From: Renate Ferro <rtf9 at cornell.edu>
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at gamera.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Sent: Monday, 11 October, 2010 5:05:56
> Subject: [-empyre-] FWD: From Artist-in-residence Janice Perry
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Janice Perry <jp at janiceperry.com>
> Date: Sun, Oct 10, 2010 at 10:05 PM
> Subject: RE: [-empyre-]
> Making Sense?
> Well, as you know, it is not so simple to talk about one¹s work. Especially
> work 
> one hasn¹t yet made. I¹m just going to jump in and start with a bit of
> background.
> I have a very active international performance practice. I work live onstage,
> in 
> multi-media live art, in video, and installation, and I teach. I also engage
> in 
> collaboration with emerging and established artists around the world. I often
> use web technology to facilitate and document new work.
> I have a strong interest in physical, social, and natural sciences,
> linguistics, 
> and philosophy, and a history of making work that reflects and translates
> human 
> experience and concerns.
> I¹m creating multi-media pieces in hopes of making abstract concepts more
> accessible. For example at present I¹m using live performance, video,
> photography, audio, and installations to illustrate some of the extremely
> contradictory predictions about the effects of climate change on our lakes,
> streams, rivers and seas, and to speculate on the consequences for our
> cultural 
> landscapes.
> A recent piece, "Being Derrida" began as an act of mourning, integrating
> practice and theory through live performance. Being Derrida reflects and
> embodies Jacques Derrida and aspects of his system of ideas through
> technology, 
> physical engagement and re-creation. The piece is comprised of two
> simultaneously screened 6-minute videos. Objects resembling those used in the
> videos (a cordless phone, knife, jar of honey, etc) lie on a table at the
> side. 
> A ³deconstructed² version of the documentary film ³Derrida² is projected on a
> large screen while an original video (in which I¹ve imitated Derrida¹s
> movements 
> as closely as possible) is shown on a monitor. The videos are synchronized--
> Derrida and I move together in a deconstructive dance that illustrates remarks
> on the myth of Echo and Narcissus, Self and Other, and Being, made by Derrida
> in 
> the deconstructed documentary. In installation, the audience is invited to use
> the objects on the table to imitate the movements shown on the videos, to
> themselves, ³Be Derrida.² Hard to describe, and surprisingly fun. In making
> the 
> piece, I realized that ³being Derrida² -- breaking down Derrida¹s movements
> and 
> actions, reinterpreting and re-ordering them<is itself a performative
> deconstruction of Deconstruction.
> I don¹t have any specific plans about what I¹ll make at/of Making Sense. I
> will 
> be as present as possible, and try to respond quickly to what happens during
> the 
> colloquium. Hard to know what those responses will look like, but I will know
> more once I see the physical space and see what is available to work with. And
> then of course, once the intellectual space comes into being, wellS we¹ll see!
> Looking forward to seeing you there.
> Best wishes,
> Janice
> PS: Take a look at my web site-- www.janiceperry.com
> _______________________________________________
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> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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